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  • alicelovesmiryam alicelovesmiryam Apr 18, 2003 8:24 AM Flag

    Quick war proves protesters right

    The Bible tells us that pride goeth before the fall. In Iraq, it cameth right after.

    From the moment that statue of Saddam hit the ground, the mood around the Rumsfeld campfire has been all high-fives, I-told-you-sos, and endless smug prattling about how the speedy fall of Baghdad is proof positive that those who opposed the invasion of Iraq were dead wrong.

    What utter nonsense. In fact, the speedy fall of Baghdad proves the anti-war movement was dead right.

    The whole pretext for our unilateral charge into Iraq was that the American people were in imminent danger from Saddam and his mighty war machine. The threat was so clear and present that we couldn�t even give inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction � hey, remember those? � another 30 days, as France had wanted?

    Well, it turns out that, far from being on the verge of destroying Western civilization, Saddam and his 21st century Gestapo couldn�t even muster a half-hearted defense of their own capital. The hawk�s cakewalk disproves their own dire warnings. They can�t have it both ways. The invasion has proved wildly successful in one other regard: It has unified most of the world � especially the Arab world -- against us.

    Back in 1991, more than half-a-dozen Arab nations were part of our Desert Storm coalition. Operation Iraqi Freedom�s �coalition of the willing� has zero. And I�m sorry, but substituting Bulgaria and the island of Tonga for Egypt and Oman is just not going to cut it when it comes to winning hearts and minds on the Arab street.

    In fact, almost everything about the invasion � from the go-it-alone buildup to the mayhem the fall of Saddam unleashed � has played right into the hands of those intent on demonizing our country. Islamic extremists must be having a field day signing up new recruits for the holy war they�re preparing to wage against us.

    The anti-war movement did not oppose the war out of fear that America was going to lose. It was Dubya�s administration�s pathological and frantic obsession with an immediate, damned-the-consequences invasion that fueled the protests.

    And please don�t point to the jubilant Iraqis dancing in the street to validate the case for �pre-emptive liberation.� You�d be doing the Baghdad Bugaloo too if the murderous tyrant who�d been eating off golden plates while your family starved finally got what was coming to him. It in no way proves that running roughshod over international law and pouring Iraqi oil onto the flames of anti-American hatred was a good idea. It wasn�t before and it still isn�t now. The unintended consequences have barely begun to unfold.

    It�s important to remember that the Arab world has seen a very different war than we have. They are seeing American forces leaving behind a wake of destruction, looting, hunger, humiliation and chaos. The powerful role that shame and humiliation have played in shaping world history is considerable, but something Dubya�s team seems utterly clueless about.

    Which is why the anti-war movement must be stalwart in its refusal to be silenced or browbeaten by the gloating �I told you so� chorus on the right. On the contrary, it needs to make sure that the doctrine of pre-emptive invasion is forever buried in the sands of Iraq. Especially as the administration, high on the heady fumes of Saddam�s ouster, turns its covetous eyes to Syria. I give it less than a week before someone starts making the case that President Assad is the next, next Hitler.

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